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Recently, I read that someone's 额头上有一个伤痕 。 I knew that the sentence literally meant that there was a scar. But then I thought "Why didn't they say "伤疤” or “疤痕”。 All three of these translate to scar in english, is there any simple way to divide them in Chinese?

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    Should be “一道” “一记” “一块” or “一条” rather than "一个”. – Justin XL Sep 13 '14 at 8:24
  • What is the difference between the two on this? – Stephen Sep 14 '14 at 18:23
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Often "疤痕" is reserved for "physical scar", while "傷疤" and "傷痕" can mean more; they can even mean a mental scar.

Therefore, being a 疤痕 implies being a 傷疤 (resp. 傷痕); being a 傷疤 (resp. 傷痕) not necessarily implies being a 疤痕.

Nevertheless, please bear in mind that these distinctions are subtle and not dogmatic. :)

  • in agreement with above answer, all 8 of nciku's example sentences for 疤痕 are used in the concrete physical sense, while those for 伤疤, 伤痕 scar; bruise can have both physical and extended meanings,there also is a fourth :瘢痕 used for physical scars – user6065 Sep 10 '14 at 6:56
  • Ha, because I am a native Chinese speaker :) – Megadeth Sep 10 '14 at 6:57
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    Would I be correct in thinking that 伤痕 and 伤疤 both quite necessarily refer to scars that you've gotten as the result of an injury, while 疤痕 (and 瘢痕?) can be from other causes as well? For example, would a scar left over from removing a birth mark be a 伤痕/伤疤? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 10 '14 at 15:43
  • @JanusBahsJacquet: Thank you for your interest. Well, we use "胎記" for and only for birth mark. And all the three words of interest are a result of an injury! Thus they are different :) – Megadeth Sep 10 '14 at 22:39
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    Yes, 胎记 is the birth mark itself. But when you have a birth mark removed, that leaves behind a scar which is not a 胎记. What would you call that, then? Or the scar you (used to) get from an appendectomy? Those aren't injuries as such: they're medical procedures that just happen to leave behind scars. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 10 '14 at 22:42
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There is a little difference between 伤痕 and 伤疤, but realy difficult to translate to english for both usually means scar.

伤疤 refers to the thing that cicatrizing after wounded, while 伤痕 is the scar left while the wound has been cured, and 疤痕 means the scar left after cicatrizing. Of course, both can be translated to scar, and can mean physical or mental scar. In fact, 疤痕 also can be used as mental scar left, like 心上的疤痕难以消除, but it's too formal and awkwardly(别扭).

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While all three can refer to a scar, 伤痕 is the only term that can also refer to a relatively fresh wound.

Example: "受害人躺在地上,身上滿布伤痕。" (The victim lay on the ground, his body covered with injury marks.)

In this sentence, the victim is possibly still bleeding, and hurting from the injuries, whereas a person who has 疤痕 or 傷疤 is no longer bleeding or hurting from those wounds.

  • Good point. No scar tissue involved. – George Chen Sep 12 '14 at 20:32

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